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Concern for student safety raised after child is struck by police car

A boy struck by a Claremont police vehicle on June 9 while walking to school returned to classes the following day with minor injuries. The Condit Elementary School student was in the crosswalk around 8:20 a.m. when the officer, attempting to stop a speeding motorist, hit the boy at the intersection of Scripps Drive and Mountain Avenue.

According to an eyewitness, the unnamed officer had turned on his lights and chirped his siren before beginning his pursuit of the driver.

“Then I heard a thud.”

According to Lt. Mike Ciszek of the Claremont Police Department, the boy sustained minor injuries. “He had a bruised right knee and a scuffed right cheek, but appeared to be okay.” He was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Paramedics and released to his parents.

Many residents with children attending Condit Elementary took to social media, voicing their concerns about speeders near the campus. Some were outraged that drivers are creating unsafe conditions for their children while others don’t believe police officers should pursue a reckless driver when children are present.

Condit parent Lisa Chen has seen careless drivers around the school before and was nearly a victim herself of a distracted driver a few years ago.

“I was crossing Scripps Drive when a driver making a left turn from Mountain Avenue didn’t see me and nearly ran me over,” she said. At the time, Ms. Chen wanted to write the city about her experience, but never got around to it. Now, she wishes she had.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this year a Claremont student has been hit by a car on the way to school. On February 14, an El Roble Intermediate School student was crossing the street at Harrison and Mountain Avenues just before 8 a.m. when a car failed to yield, hitting her in the intersection. When police first received the call, the girl was stuck underneath the vehicle. By the time officers arrived, the girl had been safely removed and was awake and breathing. She was transported to the hospital for neck and back pain.

Less than three weeks later, police responded to yet another incident at the local intermediate school. A student informed school officials that a woman driving a white SUV hit her while she was walking across Harrison Avenue. Though the girl said she was not injured, she was transported to the hospital and her parents were notified.

La Verne Police Department, who responded to the accident near Condit Elementary and is handling the investigation, remains tight-lipped about the incident and would not provide additional details at this time.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Watch Commander Lt. Elizabeth Garcia. “The report needs to be completed, then sent to a traffic investigator who reviews it. It takes about 10 working days.”

The speeder who attracted the attention of the officer near the elementary school got away.

The COURIER will provide more details when they become available. Visit www.claremont-courier.com for the latest information.

—Angela Bailey


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